Alaska Legislature Urges Development of Critical Arctic Infrastructure

HJR 33 Calls for Development of an Arctic Port to Increase the Military and Emergency Response Capabilities in the Arctic

Juneau – Today, the Alaska Legislature unanimously approved a resolution calling for the federal government to help develop critical infrastructure and emergency response capabilities in the Arctic region, including the development of a deep-water port on the northern coast of Alaska. House Joint Resolution 33 passed the Alaska State Senate today after being passed earlier this month by the Alaska House of Representatives.

“The Arctic is changing. The loss of sea ice has opened new sea routes with the potential to transform international trade and oil companies are competing to explore the vast untapped potential in the Arctic,” said HJR 33 sponsor Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “The time has come for the federal government to fully embrace our position as an Arctic nation and start investing in the future of the region. Passing this resolution with overwhelming bipartisan support puts the Alaska Legislature on record supporting the creation of a deep-water port that will improve the emergency response capabilities in the region and give the military a critical piece of infrastructure to protect the security of our country.”

In recent years, military and economic interest in the Arctic by many countries has been growing. China, which does not border the Arctic region, has put forward its own Arctic policy and the Russian Federation has established the Arctic Joint Strategic Command to assert its military strategy in the region. Additionally, the Russian Federation has constructed 40 icebreakers and located 14 airfields and 16 deep-water ports in the region. In contrast, the U.S. military only has two vessels capable of icebreaking and both are stationed outside of Alaska.

With the passage of HJR 33, the Alaska Legislature recognizes the vast potential for economic development in the Arctic region and the urgency for building key infrastructure, including a U.S. Coast Guard port capable of supporting naval contingency operations in the Arctic.

House Joint Resolution 33 passed the Alaska House of Representatives earlier this month by a vote of 40-0. Today, the Alaska State Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 19-0. HJR 33 will now be sent to Alaska Governor Bill Walker for his signature.

For more information, contact Michael Lowe in Rep. Tuck’s office at (907) 465-2095.

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CONTACT: Mike Mason (907) 444-0889